HSUS brings message to 4-H’ers

There was an unusual presentation at this year’s National 4-H Conference, March 20-24, in Washington: “Animal Instincts: Service Learning and Animal Welfare.”

Now the name of the March 23 break-out session doesn’t sound too unusual, but the presenting organization sure was — the Humane Society of the United States.

Hmmm. An anti-animal agriculture, vegan-promoting lobbying organization is presenting information to our brightest youth?

What were organizers thinking?

That’s what a lot of folks would like to know.

The issue came to light April 1 in a blog post by BEEF Web Editor Amanda Nolz. Honestly, at first I thought it was an April Fools’ Day hoax, but then I realized it was no joke.

The presentation was made in two sessions, with about 25 youth in each session, according to the 4-H National Headquarters.

Nolz’s post created a whirlwind of activity and comments in the online world, as folks spread her link like wildfire. Commenters expressed their dismay on the Beef Daily blog, on the national 4-H Facebook page and on Farm and Dairy’s Facebook page.

On the national 4-H Facebook page, one poster called it an “irresponsible decision,” adding, “The opposing viewpoint argument means nothing when you bring in manipulative and corrupt public policy groups whose main goal is to create a vegan society.”

By 6 a.m. April 2, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which houses the National 4-H Headquarters within USDA, posted a statement on its Facebook page, saying the HSUS proposal “was reviewed by the planning committee and found acceptable.”

“… the workshop was approved by the planning committee because the proposal aligned with the goals of the 4-H conference and did not present any indication of anti-animal agriculture views or positions.”

No, but you can’t separate the proposal from the organization presenting it — an organization with a stated goal of reducing animal consumption.

In its call for conference presentations, the National 4-H program stressed that each session must provide take-home resources, and “to encourage them to apply what they learned back home.” That opened the door for the distribution of the 35-page HSUS Mission Humane Action Guide, which encourages youth to set up animal protection clubs, and devotes pages to researching animal issues, “making your voice heard” and raising funds.

If you throw a party, the material suggests showing videos from the HSUS Web site and serving vegan refreshments. And just about every page plugs information available on the HSUS Web site.

“You’ll also learn about lobbying — one of the most effective ways of making change for animals,” says the guide’s message from CEO Wayne Pacelle.

OSU Extension Director Keith Smith issued a statement April 2, saying, Ohio’s 4-H program was “very distressed that this happened at a national 4-H event,” and that the Ohio 4-H organization had expressed that dismay to the 4-H National Headquarters and USDA-NIFA.

“The primary concern about this distribution is that HSUS is well known for its anti-animal agriculture views and positions, and 4-H has a long tradition of providing education in the animal sciences, which includes the dimension of positive animal welfare.”

In its statement, Kansas State University said some of the materials provided by HSUS met the conference’s workshops criteria of “teaching civic engagement, community service, youth volunteerism and impacting community issues.

“However, much of the material was more focused on the HSUS goals.”

Living in a world with blinders on gives us all a narrow perspective, and I believe it does none of us any good to close our ears and minds to opposing viewpoints and opinions. However, I dislike the calculating move by HSUS to target 4-H youth with its subtle anti-animal agriculture message.

If you’d like to voice your opinion, you can e-mail the 4-H National Headquarters at
4hhq@nifa.usda.gov.

By Susan Crowell

About the Author

Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell has been with the paper since 1985, serving as its editor since 1989. Raised on a farm in Holmes County, she is a graduate of Kent State University. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/scrowell and follow Farm and Dairy at http://twitter.com/farmanddairy. You can also find her on Google+ and Facebook. More Stories by Susan Crowell

13 Comments

  1. AleenM says:

    This will be an attempt to brainwash. Has anyone looked at the 35 page “pamphlet” to endoctrinate our middle school age to highschool hype. Turning 12 years olds into lobbyist and extreme push for a vegan diet in order to help the poor little animals. I wonder if Mr. Pacelle thinks this could possible abuse of our youth.

    Amazing that they target youth at the impressionable age to begin the indoctrination.

    Farmer and proud and I have two of the “indoctrination” age. It is a concern that the animal rights organizations are able to exploit middle school children to their animal rights cause as we understand animal welfare and it is very different.
    am

  2. mary gibson says:

    I am a big believer in the more information one has the better decisions they will make. Give 4Hers credit and allow them to make up their own minds.

  3. Dannielle says:

    so these kids, who are rightfully proud of the animals they raise for consumption, are being influence to serve vegan fare to their friends- in full contradiction to the actions they conscientiously perform every day?
    little hypocritical, don’t you think?

    if HSUS is only about the ‘care’ of the animals, you would think they would be praising groups like 4H, encouraging people to buy their meat products from these enterprising and industrious children, and giving them their full support as the future of American farming.

    can HSUS name one, just one, humane producer of meat products and state publicly that they support families’ decisions to consume their products?

    that says it all.

    they will tell you over and over again they are NOT a vegan group, but they will never, ever promote meat in any way, shape or form and will go out of their way to avoid the use of any animals agriculture product.

    ’nuff said.

  4. Rosario says:

    Strange, this very day, the HSUS is asking people to purchase cage-free eggs, after an investigation of an Iowa egg producer. nuff said, indeed.

  5. I am not surprised that HSUS is trying to take over 4-H..They have already succeeded in becoming part of the United States Equine Federation!!!!
    Hopefully most 4-h’ers are brighter than David O’Conner head of USEF.

  6. onafixedincome says:

    Yep, buy those cage-free eggs. Dirtier and less sanitary eggs overall, using unproven methods on the large scale, and hey, next step is ‘don’t buy eggs, we tried going cage free and they’re STILL a nasty proposition.’

    It’s a totally classic tactic in the tradition of ‘divide and conquer’ totalitarianism. Think Hitler. It’s a series of seemingly-logical small steps which lead to a result which at the beginning would have seemed impossible and unacceptable. Hitler employed this method with anti-Semitism; PETA and HSUS, among others, have used it for years on lawmakers with tremendous success.

    First you make it a buzzword, get peoples’ attention. Then you get them upset about it. Then, propose a seemingly simple solution, not too much change at one time, but ‘it will make it better and it can be changed more later’….and it is…by, oddly enough, people who are now reliant on the lobbyists and their ‘experts’.

    Please don’t let this go any further. Educate your youth NOW, and teach them to use their brains to see through such tactics and see facts.

  7. Mary says:

    I am very tired of HSUS tactics and the “credibility” that they receive because the maintstream media now uses them for quotes on animal welfare. They are a radical group that is posing in sheep’s clothing and too many people don’t look at the fleecing.

  8. Sandy says:

    Has anyone bothered to ask the kids what THEY thought? I have a lot of faith in their ablility to think. If they get good info from HSUS on how to effect our laws that’s a good thing. They can help make laws that allow people to humanely raise food animals for themselves and others, such as in direct Farm sales to the public so people will be able to know how their dinner was treated while alive.

    Also there is an important concept called “Know your enemy.” Let the the 4-Hers see first hand the tactics of those trying to take away their rights to buy, raise, and sell livestock.

  9. David says:

    USDA NIFA really isn’t responsible for this all happening… They can’t say NO to this stuff b/c of their Nondiscrimination Statement…

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), including NIFA, prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, **political beliefs**, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

  10. Cindy T says:

    Good for National 4H. Part of 4H is learning about the world around you and participating in your community. Many of the HSUS and 4H goals are similar. As a prior 4Her I learned to raise and treat animals humanely…the same thing HSUS endorses. I eat meat, but I have a coworker and two friends who are vegetarians. I respect them, they respect me. Vegetarianism is part of the world. It’s better for kids to learn about many topics, raise them to make balanced decisions, and then make their own decision.

    The strange hyperbole and overreaction by the anti-HSUS goofs is just bizarre and demeans 4H…the very thing that they say HSUS is doing. Hmmmm.

  11. Dave says:

    HSUS does not support humanely raising livestock. They support a complete elimination of animal agriculture. In addition, they have supported the terrorist activities of ALF and have initiated terrorist activities against animal agriculture.

    Terrorists and terrorist sympathizers should not be allowed to indoctrinate youth ever.

  12. Really great site, appreciate your effort and writing this informative post.

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